The photo above is a computer rendition of what the upcoming Kia Stinger sedan could look like wearing New Zealand police livery. Why the dress rehearsal?
Because the South Korean carmaker has confirmed the rear-drive Stinger is being evaluated by police in Australia as a future highway patrol car and general duties vehicle. A decision is expected later this year.
Adopting the Stinger in NZ further down the line would be just another step in the existing cooperative agreements between police forces on both sides of the Tasman.
The Stinger sedan goes on sale in NZ and Australia from September/October. It is the first Kia to be developed by its new head of chassis development, Albert Biermann. German Biermann was previously the head of dynamics for BMW’s go-fast M division.
Kia Motors Australia PR chief Kevin Hepworth has told motoring writers testing the Stinger at the Nurburgring in Germany that the car provides the “particular skill set” that Australian police want.
“The brake package meets their requirement, the wiring meets their requirement, it can be upgraded simply without drama,” he said. “Performance figures are what they want. Now they have to assess if they can steer it or not.”
The Stinger with the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 engine would likely replace the Holden Commodore SS and Ford Falcon XR6 turbo as a pursuit vehicle in Australia, say reports. The four-cylinder 2.0-litre variant would be a daily driver.
The V6 Stinger is good for 272kW at 6000rpm and 510Nm between 1300-4500rpm, output that betters all but the most powerful VF Commodore V8.
Top speed is 270km/h and Kia claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of around five seconds. At just 4831mm long, Stinger almost matches the current Commodore police sedan for size, too.
Holden stops building the VF Commodore in October. It will be replaced in NZ and Australia next year by a new Commodore, a rebadged Opel Insignia from Germany.
The base model Insignia is front-drive with turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol and diesel options, and the flagship is all-wheel-drive with a V6 petrol unit.
Holden’s agreement to supply the NZ police with vehicles is believed to be in place till 2020-21. Holden is not saying but under the agreement it can be expected that the rebadged Insignia variants will appear in NZ police livery from next year.
But beyond 2020-21, who knows? Will Holden hold on to the contract? Will other carmakers muscle in? The Kia Stinger will be nearing a mid-life facelift by then and any reliability or performance issues will have been settled.
There is another aspect to be considered. Will the Stinger be too expensive for NZ police duty? Industry observers in Europe and the USA are putting the V6 variant in the same category as the Mercedes-Benz CLS, Jaguar XF, BMW 4-Series, and Audi A5/S5.